NEW YORK — A prosecutor told jurors Thursday that a U.S. citizen went to Pakistan in 2008 with two others determined to kill American troops in Afghanistan, but a defense lawyer said the men were “immature, naïve and clueless” and easily manipulated by both al-Qaida and U.S. investigators.
Both versions of Adis Medunjanin’s trip abroad were offered during closing arguments before a federal jury in Brooklyn begins deliberating the fate of the Bosnian-born Muslim who became a naturalized U.S. citizen.
Medunjanin is charged with nine crimes, including conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction and conspiring to provide material support to al-Qaida by prosecutors who say he returned to New York weeks after he left to begin planning a martyrdom operation to set off explosives in the city’s subway.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Berit Berger said Medunjanin and the other two men quickly ditched their original plan to fight for the Taliban against Americans in Afghanistan when they connected with al-Qaida operatives in Pakistan who wanted them to return to America on a terrorism mission.
“This is Terrorism 101,” she said. “The goal of this conspiracy was to kill as many people as possible.”
Medunjanin has pleaded not guilty to charges he became an al-Qaida operative who discussed bombing movie theaters, Grand Central Terminal, Times Square and the New York Stock Exchange before settling on the city’s subways.
20 April 2012
Saajid Badat, a UK born terror convict during the trial of Adis Medunjanin, accused in the 2009 plot to attack New York’s subways with suicide bombs, admitted that he had met al-Qaida leader Usama bin Laden more than once when he travelled to Afghanistan in 1999. At the time, he knew al-Qaida, the terrorist group as The Sheikh’s Group, with sheikh referring to bin Laden.
In Britain, Badat pleaded guilty to plotting with Richard Colvin Reid to bring down American trans-Atlantic flights by using bombs hidden in their shoes. Badat had aborted the attack but Reid went ahead and in a failed attempt tried to blow up the plane in mid-air.
“The arrest of Adis Medunjanin, an American citizen of Bosnian origin, suspected of cooperation with terrorist organization Al-Kaida, does not affect the status of Bosniaks in the United States”, stated Head of Islamic Community in Chicago, Imam Senad Agić for Bosnian daily SAN in his phone interview.
“I’m sure that Medunjanin was not a member of our Islamic community. I can guarantee that the members of Islamic community of Bosniaks in America from our dzemats wouldn’t do such thing. Imams teach their members how one should live life with respect to others’ lives”, said Agić.
Zlatan Burzic, the Spokesman of the BiH Ministry of Foreign Affairs, did not have any other information on Medunjanin’s case than those that US news agencies already reported about.
“We only know that it is an American citizen whose passport was taken away during his arrest. Taking into account that the arrest was made on territory of US, Medunjanin was treated as an American citizen. Thus, our Embassy in Washington was not officially informed about that arrest neither American authority is obliged to do so. We do not have any reports that our citizens are subjects of any inconveniences. According to our information, the situation is normal in that regard and Medunjanin is, before all, an American citizen. In this moment, I’m not able to confirm if and when Medunjanin get the American citizenship”, explained Zlatan Burzic, the Spokesman of BiH Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Adis Medunjanin, an American citizen originally from BiH, was arrested Friday on terror charges for ties to al-Qaida Pakistan and plead “not guilty” on Saturday in a Brooklyn court.
Medunjanin and another suspect, Zarein Ahmedzay, originally from Afghanistan, were arrested in Flushing district in Queens, NY.